The Karpinka Brothers
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The Karpinka Brothers

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Americana Folk





by Lee Zimmerman

August 3, 2015

Mention the Karpinka Brothers and it’s likely that there will be people who think you’re referring to a family acrobatic act. Mention they’re from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and it’s likely you’ll get another look of puzzlement, as if to say, “Where the hell is that?” The most probable answer is that it’s somewhere in Canada’s furthermost hinterlands, probably boasting some frigid conditions.

Considering the fact that these two siblings are virtually unknown on this side of the American border, despite their two albums — One Brick at a Time (2008) and There’s a Light (2012) — it’s little surprise they inspire such misconceptions. And yet, the band’s music is instantly engaging. It conjures up the feel of a Cajun combo attempting to emulate the classic pop of Buddy Holly with more than a hint of the Everly Brothers besides.

Prone to dressing in matching shirts with a musical mindset that would best befit a busker, Aaron and Shawn Karpinka have made a clear commitment to their community. They freely hand out copies of their new releases and take up residence as entertainers at assisted living facilities, where they’ve garnered a committed following.

“Those are our favorite shows actually, because you hear them singing along when they can’t speak, and you see them clapping and dancing when they don’t move very much,” Aaron told the StarPhoenix. “It reminds you what music is about.”

Naturally, there’s reason to view such agreeable attitudes with suspicion, and even cynicism. We don’t like our musical heroes to simply be nice guys. They have to have a bit of an edge in order to make them credible and convincing. It doesn’t help matters that their initial album was recorded in a single day, and that their mother — their mother — was the person most responsible for its distribution.

“Our mom peddled it,” Aaron told the same interviewer. “She promoted us like she was Don King or something.” It’s little wonder that, after they introduced their mom to Gordon Lightfoot, and he asked her to assess their talents, she raved about the boys. That’s a mother’s prerogative of course, but then again, getting mum’s endorsement doesn’t exactly advance the rock star myth. Neither does that fact that the standout song from their sophomore set is tellingly titled “Everybody Wants to be My Friend.”

“The song comes from asking what real friendship is,” they’ve explained. “And we’re happy to be friends and bros to everyone.”

Their upcoming release, You Can Count On Me, reinforces that amiable image even further, thanks to its cheery melodies and a sound capable of making believers even on first encounter. Personally, I’m hooked. The lesson: Sincerity needn’t be sappy and it’s actually okay to be agreeable. Especially if you’re situated in place like Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. - NO DEPRESSION

"K-Bros up the ante"


K-Bro (verb) 1. To do a good deed without expectation of getting anything in return. 2. To pick up someone's tab without telling them.

"I totally got K-Broed when my friend secretly paid for my beer."

The Karpinka Brothers' reputation proceeds them. Their generosity and kindness is all part of a package cultivated over seven years in music. They've started a small but powerful altruism revolution in Saskatoon.

"It's very selfish of us to treat people because we get so psyched from it. The jokes on everybody that I bought poutine for," younger brother Aaron said.

But with their latest album You Can Count on Me it's time for the music to eclipse the niceness.

Recorded in two days at Full Color Studios in Saskatoon, the record is a big step up musically, treading into darker lyrical territory and upping the instrumental ante. It's a polished effort, but doesn't lose the spontaneity of their previous two albums.

"I think you can hear inside the tracks somewhere us having fun. We left mistakes in and didn't worry about them and now they make me smile to hear them," said elder brother Shawn.

It might seem like just another album, but a number of touchstones prove just how far the duo has come since starting the band in 2008. The duo (with help from Dean Summach on drums and Malcolm Whyte on bass) is about to finish its most extensive tour to date. They just played their 25th show at Parkridge Centre, a care facility where the band got its start. But perhaps the biggest milestone for the brothers will come with their Saskatoon release show.

"I remember a time when we were trying so hard to get a show at Amigos and Aaron would call the booker there every Wednesday afternoon. He had a ritual," said Shawn.

"I want to publicly apologize to Brant Palko for calling him every Wednesday at 4:55 p.m.," said Aaron.

It didn't happen right away, but when Tom Wilson played the venue, Palko booked the Bros as openers. When it came time to book their current release show, it was Amigos that contacted them. "It was kind of full circle and it really meant a lot to me after that year of Aaron begging. We've come a long way," said Shawn.

They've also made the decision to embrace music full-time. For five years, Aaron Karpinka worked 60 hour weeks as manager of a Saskatoon grocery store, using his holidays to tour and operating on little sleep so he could get to as many concerts as possible. It was much the same for Shawn.

"There were a lot of times when I played shows locally, went to bed at 3 a.m. and got up and worked at 5:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You fall asleep in your work clothes," said Aaron.

Both musicians felt like their work schedules kept them from spending time on music, so they made the decision to quit and focus on the band. Both admit it takes discipline to make it work.

"There was a time in my life when I could go buy a new Fender Jazzmaster every two weeks if I wanted. Now I just take really good care of the one I have," said Aaron.

But it's all worth it to grow the band. You Can Count of Me features the most even contributions from the brothers thus far. "When we started I would give Aaron a song and say 'Here, add a solo,' and that's not very creatively fulfilling, but now he's developed his own songwriting voice and sings lead on a couple of songs. I'm really proud of him," said Shawn.

Aaron's lyrics are darker than K-Bros listeners might be accustomed to, but his honesty is a refreshing change of tone.

"I was writing for the first time in my life to deal with things I had gone through, breakups and other things that were tough on me," he said.

On the flip side, Shawn is a newlywed so his songs are full of joy. The contrast makes for a more satisfying album, without losing the earnestness for which both K-Bros are known. Music or otherwise, you can count on these brothers. - The Star Phoenix


The Karpinka Brothers - You Can Count On Me

Reviewed by Gregory Robson


The Karpinka Brothers - You Can Count On Me
Release Date: Sept. 3, 2015
Record Label: Self-released
This review was written by an staff member.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is not exactly a musical hotbed, but one band is doing everything to change that. The Karpinka Brothers, fronted by Shawn and Aaron Karpinka, perform a sterling form of old-school Americana that demands wider audiences. You Can Count On Me, the third album from the Canadian outfit is easily their best to date and looks to position the band as one of Americana’s beacons in the months and years to come. Very little of You Can Count On Me sounds modern, that is to say the album mines the same sonic terrain as that of Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers, and hot damn, is it something.

The album opens with the inviting and amiable “Careful What You Wish For,” a warm and rollicking slice of hook-laden 60s pop. That vibe carries over to the buoyant title track, a cheery and hopeful kernel that is ridiculously catchy. The same playful guitar lines that welcomed “Careful What You Wish For” return on the hip-shaking and beer-swilling “One Of These Days,” a breezy and effortless pop song that is as magnetic as it is concise. One of only two down moments arrives next in the form of “Lost and Found” a song that builds on the momentum of “One Of Those Days” but ultimately falls very short. The same sense of precision, polish and crispness that marked the previous three songs is definitely missing on “Lost and Found.” Thankfully the band recovers on lead single “Tetherball,” a sunny and bright rollick that belies a darker subject matter.

One of the strongest of the lot is the dusty, western cut “Who Says Dreams Don’t Come True,” a winsome valentine to a significant other that possesses some of the strongest vocals on the album and easily one of the strongest hooks. On an album that has many keepers, few shine brighter than “Who Says Dreams Don’t Come True.” You Can Count On Me rounds towards the finish line with “Far Away,” a cocktail of sha-la-la-la’s that unfortunately wades in the tepid waters of “Lost and Found.”

Not content to mire in mediocrity, The Karpinka Brothers close out You Can Count On Me with two of their strongest songs to date. “You Don’t Scare Me” opens with jovial guitars and a veneer that is equal parts rustic, vernal and witty. You Can Count On Me concludes with “Heaven Help Me Through The Hard Times,” a song that is easily the band’s apex composition. Arguably the only ballad on the nine song album, “Heaven Help Me,” is lingering, potent and deeply rewarding. In short, it’s the kind of song that bands can spend years trying to craft and never once achieve. The fact that Shawn and Aaron Karpinka have written such a song on only their third release points at exactly why they have won over Canada.

Perhaps the best part about You Can Count On Me is how simple and unadorned it is. There’s nothing superfluous or synthetic about any of these nine songs. Just two guitars, a bass and a drum kit. Not only that the songs are immediate and accessible, with only one lasting longer than three minutes (“Heaven Help Me Through the Hard Times”) and one not even two minutes in length (“Tetherball”). That commitment to simplicity is exactly why The Karpinka Brothers are poised to win America over in the months and years to come. - ABSOLUTE PUNK


Country Standard Time

August 21, 2015

The Karpinka Brothers, You Can Count On Me – 2015 ( Self-released)

By Lee Zimmerman

Considering the fact that these two siblings are virtually unknown on this side of our northern border – that despite the two albums (“One Brick at a Time,” their 2008 debut and “There’s a Light,” released in 2012) that have paved the way for their new release, the giddily-titled “You Can Count on Me.” It comes as something of a surprise to find them so immediately engaging – and more than that, so consistently irresistibly charming as well. Imagine combining enlisting a Cajun ensemble to play the music made by a venerable pop purist like Buddy Holly, and you’ll then get an idea of what the Karpinka clan has to offer.

“You Can Count On Me” reinforces that notion even further, thanks to its cheery melodies and a sound capable of making converts even on first encounter. Happily too, the fact that they hail from a distant place like Saskatoon, Saskatchewan doesn’t diminish their irrepressible attitude. On songs such as “You Can Count on Me” and “Lost and Found,” the energy and approach are so effortlessly upbeat, one can’t help but wonder where that enthusiasm comes from. Indeed, the aforementioned Mr. Holly would likely have been pleased to claim a pair of songs like “Tetherball” and “Who Says Dreams Don’t Come True” as two of his own. So too, the track that follows, “Far Away” purveys the unabashed innocence of the early Hollies or Kinks.

Part of the reason for their effusive persona may have something to do with the simple subject matter at hand. There’s nothing headier here than their various discourses on romance and relationships, and even the tunes that touch on mistrust and betrayal are instances are relatively rare. When, on “You Can Count on Me” and “Heaven Help Me Through the Hard Times,” they express some wariness about infidelity, they refrain from outright accusation, all the while ensuring that the optimism remains intact. Given today’s generally pessimistic perspective, it’s no small gift to be able to count on that. - COUNTRY STANDARD TIME


The Karpinka Brothers – You Can Count on Me

By Spencer Brown

Saskatoon’s Aaron and Shawn Karpinka release something rarely heard with You Can Count on Me: an upbeat, happy album. Even the darker moments, such as the chorus on “One of These Days” where “our dreams won’t seem so far away” are tempered with hope. The closest the Bros Karpinka get to angry is on “Tetherball,” where the antagonist “mistakes them for someone they can bat around, someone who comes running when they call, someone chained down to the ground” but even here, they see through the ruse and walk it off with heads held high.

While the Karpinka Brothers are often thought of as a folk band, they have solid pop sensibilities that glimmer all throughout their jaunty beats and offbeat, duelling vocals. There are definite hints of Unrest, Lemonheads, Smoking Popes and other early ‘90s alt-rock luminaries, along with more contemporary influences such as John K. Samson and Joel Plaskett. If you are in need of a pick-me-up to go along with your morning routine, You Can Count on Me is it. - BeatRoute MAGAZINE


The Karpinka Brothers – You Can Count On Me RELEASED TODAY!
by: Craig Silliphant

I once wrote that The Karpinka Brothers were, “the glowing, thumping heart of the Saskatoon music scene,” and those words still stand. You Can Count On Me is the third full-length album from the brothers, and as always, it’s a deeply earnest and buoyant collection of songs. In fact, their music would seem somewhat ironic if you didn’t know that they really do mean every word and every note. They’re likable and generous guys (they volunteer regularly to perform at a local long-term care home), and their music sounds like, well, like them.

Following in the footsteps of other harmonizing brotherly musical luminaries, The K-Bros are sometimes twangy like The Louvin Brothers and sometimes dreamy like The Everly Brothers. While retaining those classic sounds, they have leaned into an ever-so-slightly more modern swagger, like a band that has fallen out of time from the 50s or 60s to land here, taking on the quirks of more contemporary artists like say, Joel Plaskett or Daniel Johnston. Though there’s not distortion or feedback or anything, a few of the tracks have licks or bounce that go beyond a stock music reference like ‘upbeat’ into the realm of, ‘hey, this shit kinda rocks!’ The lyrics are generally joyful and positive, but even when they’re skirting around the edges of heartbreak and life’s setbacks, they still feel like they’re flying a bright flag of optimism.

Here’s the thing; The Karpinka Brothers are a strange contradiction that may throw more cynical listeners, but their sunny music is quite infectious. Anyone can go out and try and sound like some cool indie rock band with a howling, writhing Iggy Pop wannabe singer, but it takes real guts to go and sound like yourself. The Karpinka Brothers are building a foundation of popularity on that idea, as well as the notion that their hearts are true, which radiates from their music in spades. - PLANET S



Karpinka Brothers reaching new heights


The Karpinka Brothers — Aaron and Shawn — feel their careers are at an all-time high.

“It feels like we have an upward trajectory more than a downward spiral. It feels like we’re more in the sky than in the toilet. Its feels more like we’re succeeding than failing,” Aaron says.

The Saskatoon siblings have shared their sound at dingy bars, festivals and even a local care home. Now, with a new album release just weeks away, they are preparing to take it further than ever before.

Their third full-length offering, You Can Count On Me, comes out Sept. 4.

“It’s drastically different from anything we’ve ever done,” Aaron says.

This is true both for sound and lyrical content. It’s the first time one of their albums has featured electric guitar.

“I just want to hear the notes sound a little different and ring out a bit more,” Aaron says of the choice.

It’s also the first time Aaron has shared lyrical duties with his brother.

“It shows both of our personalities,” Shawn says. “We have very different personalities, and I think it reflects that.”

They only had two days in the studio, which Aaron chalked up to budgetary restraints. Even so, it was plenty of time.

“It was actually closer to one, but we booked the studio for two so we thought we might as well go into the studio and hang out,” Shawn says.

Their no-nonsense recording schedule is nothing new. The brothers like to have all their ducks in a row before heading in to lay anything down. They’re also willing to let a song come out however it was played, even if it’s not note-perfect.

“If there’s imperfections — and there were — we just left them in. Now when I listen back they make me smile,” Shawn says.

The accompanying tour starts Sept. 10 and will take them as far west as Vancouver, as far east as Charlottetown, and south of the border for their first time ever in New York City. It’s a massive undertaking, so big that both brothers have quit their day jobs to make music their full-time gig.

“I just found I didn’t have time. I’m married, with family and a life beyond music, and getting ready for the album release was taking up all my time,” Shawn says.

For all the new venues they’ll see, there’s one Saskatoon spot they don’t plan to start passing over. Later this month they’ll play the Parkridge Centre Special Care Home in Saskatoon for the 25th time. It all started when a local promoter suggested them as a good fit for the venue.

“We’d never done anything like that before, and we went and gave it a try, and it turned out to be some of the best musical experiences we’ve ever had,” Shawn says.

Aaron remembers one man who could barely speak beckoning him over and whispering, “When you were playing, my ears are open.” They consider the shows a great learning experience.

“You have to pull emotions and responses out of people who maybe weren’t even expecting to see music that day,” Aaron says.

The love of performing in whatever venue they find themselves in drives the siblings. Even with music now being their only source of income, they don’t let themselves feel the pressure on stage.

“I have to have the blinders on from anything financial, or exposure-wise, because it will take away from what I’m doing it for,” Aaron says. - THE STAR PHOENIX - BRIDGES


Gallery posted by Andrea Warner in Country

Most musicians are true road warriors, kicking up thousands of kilometres under their feet as they tour the world. They see the ins and outs and undersides of big cities and small towns and everything in between, which makes them pretty great unofficial travel guides as well.

We asked some of our favourite artists to tell us about the best places to eat, drink, play and stay. In the gallery above, find out about the to-die-for breakfasts, hiking hotspots, coffee hookups (there is a lot of love for Halifax here!) and how an ant hill in Medicine Hat became one band’s most cherished memory.

The Karpinka Brothers’ Shawn Karpinka

“This prairie boy has loved New York since I spent two weeks there on my honeymoon. I saw amazing concerts every night, and visited tributes to my heroes like Strawberry Fields in Central Park, and Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn. My favourite restaurant there is Veselka, a 24-hour Ukrainian restaurant that reminded me of home. From seeing celebrities struggle to hail cabs to the satisfied smile of a busker belting a cappella soul classics outside of the Guggenheim, New York is a reminder that we are all sharing this beautiful world together. It’s my favourite place in the world.” - CBC MUSIC

"Interview – The Karpinka Brothers"

Interview – The Karpinka Brothers

July 31, 2015 Tara Thompson

By: Tara Thompson

The Karpinka Brothers hail from Saskatoon and they are gearing up to release their new album, You Can Count On Me, on September 4th. This will be the third full length release from the group.

Can you introduce yourself for the readers who may not be familiar with you and your music?

Aaron: We are a band made up of two brothers who are proudly independent musicians. We pour our hearts and souls into the writing and performing of our music and our objective is to make people feel happy when they see us live.

Shawn: We are two brothers who are the best of friends, hoping to spread joy through music to as many people as we can, from playing care homes to bars and everything in between.

What was the writing process like for this album?

Aaron: I usually come up with either a verse or a chorus melody which I give to Shawn. He then writes the rest of the melodies. He usually tackles lyrics and I fill in the rest with guitar parts. Like sprinkles or frosting on a delicious cupcake.

Shawn: I would sit on my own and finish ideas that my brother would show to me, and then we’d come together again to create our harmonies. We try to keep everything even between us for writing contributions.

You say that this is the first album to reflect the two personalities between the two of you. Why did it take three full length releases to get to that point?

Aaron: That is mostly in a lyrical sense. There were two songs on this album where I wrote the lyrics where traditionally Shawn had wrote most of them in the past. They just came out that way and I think I was exercising some demons. Expressing some hurt I felt in my heart and it was very therapeutic for me and helped me bounce back.

Shawn: It’s just taken time to grow as a songwriting team where we are both expressing ourselves equally. Our songs are from our hearts and very personal, and I think we’ve just reached a point where we are encouraging of each other to express what we need to. It helps that we get along so well.

Many albums take quite some time to record but You Can Count On Me was recorded in just two days. How did you manage to get 11 songs down in that short amount of time?

Aaron: We couldn’t afford too many days in the studio. It’s a savings plan! Just kidding. We like to pride ourselves on capturing the vibe and happiness in the room when we play and we feel too many takes drain that out of us and it’s not what we are about. We play music because it’s fun. It feels good. We take pride in what we do but are not perfectionists by any means.

Shawn: We’ve learned to take the snapshot of where we’re at and move on. We had so much fun making the album live in the same room with the band for the first time, and I think you can even hear it in the recording too.

What are you most excited about for the upcoming tour?

Aaron: I’m excited to connect with people and put smiles on their faces. Also I can’t wait to see parts of the world I’ve never been to! I’ve never been to New York City and we have a show there!

Shawn: I’m just so excited to be touring coast to coast for the very first time, and to play as far away as New York, a city I fell in love with on my honeymoon there.

What songs are your favourite to play live?

Aaron: I like playing them all and just enjoy the happy place I go to when performing. There is nothing more beautiful than a room full of people smiling, getting along and dancing together.

Shawn: It really changes with every show, and it’s whenever I see a look on someone’s face that says they relate to what we’re singing, and maybe they even start singing or dancing along. I love whenever that happens.

What’s your most memorable fan experience? 

Aaron: I like when people come up to me after a show and tell me ‘I couldn’t stop smiling that whole set!’ I’ve heard it many times and it makes me feel so happy. Like we are doing what we set out to do!

Shawn: We were once asked to play with a group of people who struggle with mental disabilities and who meet to play songs together, and in their song book we were incredibly honoured to find one of our own songs.

Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

Aaron: I would love to have Leslie Feist’s voice on one of our songs some day. It’s something I just think to myself when I hear her voice. She’s one of a kind.

Shawn: Jay-Z. Or Beyonce. Or both.

Since we’re all about Canadian music, who are your favorite Canadian bands/artists?

Aaron: Ron Sexsmith is a songwriting hero of mine. I have all his records and have seen him play live around 10 times. I also really admire Bahamas, Basia Bulat, Joel Plaskett and from a young age our Dad said ‘If you want to learn how to write good songs, listen to Leonard Cohen.’

Shawn: We had the honour of playing at our hero Gordon Lightfoot’s show once, where he asked our mother, “Are these guys any good at all?” So I would say him. - Canadian Beats

"There’s A Light Review"

By Rachel Sanders

The Karpinka Brothers get more ambitious on their sophomore release, but still exhibit the same freshly scrubbed charm that filled their 2008 debut, One Brick at a Time. The Saskatoon, SK brothers have stepped it up this time with a full band album that does justice to their simple melodies and vocal harmonies. There's nostalgia in the air, along with rich arrangements and a modern edge that add depth to this solid crop of catchy, up-tempo pop songs. In opener "Save it for a Rainy Day," the sonic sparkle is paired with yearning lyrics that add a hint of salty to the sweet. The undercurrent of sadness is most evident in the slightly spicier "By Your Side" and in the disconnect between chorus and verse in "Everybody Wants To Be My Friend." The Karpinkas also temper the cheeriness of their compositions with covers of lovesick ballads, such as Nick Lowe's "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day" and Iron and Wine's "Each Coming Night."
(Independent) - EXCLAIM!

"One Brick At A Time Review"

The Karpinka Brothers
One Brick At A Time
By Rachel Sanders

The nostalgic harmonies and retro-style black and white album cover of the Karpinka Brothers’ debut album call to mind some of the last century’s most famous brother bands, particularly the Louvins and the Everlys. But while the Saskatoon boys’ gentle melodies and simple acoustic arrangements hearken back to the roots of rock’n’roll, their lyrical themes are a complex and engaging blend of starry-eyed ’50s idealism and a more modern world-weary sensibility. Blue skies, porch swings and girls with brown, cascading curls share lyrical space with slammed doors, half-drunk women, barren bars and rundown cars. The sweet catchiness of “Tether Ball” is tempered nicely by the cynical sentiments expressed by the song’s long-suffering boyfriend. And a lovely cover of Lucinda Williams’ adoring ballad “I Envy The Wind” is perfectly at home nestled between jaded love songs “Slow Down” and “Every Time You Slam The Door.” (Independent) - EXCLAIM!

"Karpinka Brothers – There’s A Light: Review"

Karpinka Brothers – There’s A Light: Review

Chris Morin June 5, 2012

Local Folk Duo Release New Album

Saskatoon’s Karpinka Brothers have quietly released their latest full-length album entitled There’s A Light.

Although rumour has it the boys are waiting on some vinyl pressings of the new album, it is likely that an actual album release show is likely imminent on the horizon. After all, it isn’t official until there is a party. Just sayin’.

Additionally, the Brothers will be appearing at MoSoFEST on Saturday, June 16 opening for Regina’s Andy Shauf.

Musically, having already garnered comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel, The Everly Brothers and Tom Petty, There’s A Light is an easy listen that is life-affirming, and laden with plenty of vocal hooks and breezy acoustic guitar leads.

Lead track “Save It For A Rainy Day” is an optimistic equivalent of a hug – an anthem for the Karpinka Brothers if there ever was one – and could easily contain a few handclaps along with the chorus. Just sayin’. The rest of the album follows suit with a flowing, intimate folk style that works in both rock venues and house shows.

But, having been entrenched into the local indie rock scene and being a fixture at pretty much every show no matter what genre, who exactly are the Karpinka Brothers?

Besides being hands down the nicest guys to ever don matching western wear shirts in Saskatoon.

Ominocity caught up with the dynamic duo for a quick infomercial-style chat presented Q ‘n’ A style.

You’re welcome.

Ominocity: First band you were in?

Aaron Karpinka: “As a young boy I put some elastic bands on a hockey stick and shredded some solos. So technically my first band was a solo project.”

Shawn Karpinka: “I was the front man in a cover band in high school that did all the grunge hits.”

OM: Favourite food?

AK: “Kraft Dinner. Usually over the pot while sitting in the dark.”

SK: “Post gig poutine at Vangelis after rocking. The poutine routine.”

OM: Eye colour?

AK: “Brown. They have also been described as ‘dreamy’ in color.”

SK: “Green as the promise of spring.”

OM: What board game are you best at?

AK: “Fireball Island. It’s from the 1980's. Very rare. Very amazing game.”

SK: “Jenga. Where are we going? Higher.”

OM: Most memorable Karpinka Bros show?

AK: “Playing at TCU place for the Gordon Lightfoot concert. It felt like a dream the whole time. We brought our parents and met him after the show. There were cheesecakes in the greenroom. They were huge.”

SK: “The Parkridge Centre in Saskatoon, a care home we love to play, hearing their voices sing back to us.”

OM: Which K Bro would win in an arm wrestling match?

AK: “Contests and competition between us is forbidden.”

SK: “Shame on you.”

OM: Boxers or briefs?

AK: “Boxers. Sometimes.”

SK: “Briefs. Always.”

OM: Do you have any cool scars?

AK: “Only mental scars of being rejected by women.”

SK: “Mine are all healed. (Through music.)”

OM: Ideal line-up featuring you and any band who would open for you?

AK: “I always feel bad when people have to open for us. I don’t want to do that to them.”

SK: “We would just let them go last. Then we’d help carry their gear.”

And there you have it! - Ominocity

"Karpinka Brothers Charm Sask"

Karpinka Brothers Charm Sask
Duo shows where there's light
By Stephanie McKay, The StarPhoenix October 11, 2012
The Karpinka Brothers might just be the nicest band in Saskatoon, and they're proving what you can do with a few good songs and some gentlemanly charm.
Indie music kids wear their T-shirts and seniors tap their toes to their songs. After four years of hard work, their sophomore album is ready for fans young and old.

From their gentle music to their matching shirts, it's easy to see why the pair of Aaron and Shawn Karpinka are finding fans all over Saskatoon's music listening community.

"We're not hard guys to get along with," Aaron said during an interview at a Broadway coffee house.
Their album, called There's A Light, doesn't officially come out until Friday, but the Karpinkas have been handing out lots of copies ahead of the release.

"We get accused of giving it out too much," Aaron said with a laugh.

The band is headlining at Amigos for the first time on Friday, but you're more likely to see the duo playing at the Parkridge care home.
"I think we learn how to be performers by being able to capture their attention," Shawn said of the care home audience. "Those are our favourite shows actually because you hear them singing along when they can't speak and you see them clapping and dancing when they don't move very much. It reminds you what music is about."

The brothers say they get a great response from the audience and some feedback. Often listeners ask them to play a favourite song.
"We started doing Snowbird by Anne Murray because of that. That's their jam," said Aaron.

The Karpinka Brothers' debut album, One Brick At a Time, came out in 2008.

The siblings and best friends, separated in age by two and a half years, have learned a lot since that first album, which was recorded in a single day. It began circulating, thanks in part to their mother.

"Our mom peddled it. She promoted us like she was Don King or something," said Aaron.

On There's a Light, the band "spoiled" themselves, taking three days in the studio with help from musicians, Ryan Drabble on drums and Enver Hampton on bass. Though the album was recorded a year ago, it's only now getting an official release because the brothers had to wait for the vinyl pressing. Both musicians are huge fans of vinyl and were excited to hear their music on the re-emerging format.

"Hopefully it sounds like we're standing in your living room serenading you," Shawn said of the record.

There's A Light is a warm and upbeat collection of eight originals and two covers. Though initially reluctant to put covers on a record, Aaron said the tunes are a way to showcase their musical interests and "maybe show people we don't just listen to the Everly Brothers."

Both brothers write songs for the band, splitting lyrical and instrumental responsibilities down the middle.

"We both have lyrical input, because if I did it they'd all be about staying up late at night playing video games," said Aaron.
Once you meet the pair their music makes perfect sense. Both men are every bit as positive as their music.

When the Karpinkas aren't making music themselves they are out at shows, cheering on their musical peers.

One highlight of their career so far was playing for the VIP ticket holders before the Gordon Lightfoot show in Saskatoon in December 2011. The Canadian music legend was there to listen to the set.

"We had to beg for a long time to even get a show. As an acoustic duo it was hard to get shows in bars. So to get asked to play for your hero is just amazing," said Shawn.

The Karpinkas introduced their parents to Lightfoot after the show where he asked their mother: "Now, tell me honestly, are these guys any good?"

She said yes, of course. - Star Phoenix

"Brotherly Love"

Brotherly Love

Craig Silliphant

Published Thursday October 4, 11:58 am

The Karpinkas are great musicians — and even better friends

Photo Credit: Shannon Heather

Friday 12

I got a call from the receptionist at work on my birthday, telling me that a package had arrived for me.

“I wonder what it is?” I asked her. “Hate mail? A bomb? Anthrax?”

“It looks more like a record,” she laughed.

It was indeed a record — the new Karpinka Brothers album, There’s a Light.

As soon as I listened to it, I was reminded once again of why The Karpinka Brothers are one of Saskatoon’s favourite musical groups. Even the most cynical of hearts will be softened by this music; it’s just so damned earnest, likeable, and musically sound.

For those familiar with The K-Bros, the song that stands out right away is “Everybody Wants to be My Friend,” which could be ripped right from the lives of brothers Shawn and Aaron Karpinka. Not only do they share their love of music with the rest of us, they’re endlessly supportive of other musicians and writers — which is why pretty much everybody does indeed want to be their friend.

“The song comes from asking what real friendship is,” says Shawn Karpinka, “and we’re happy to be friends and bros to everyone.”

“I’m glad they love us,” adds Aaron Karpinka, “because we can only be the people that we are and we can only sound the way we naturally sound.”

That sound is a Saskatchewan take on sibling duo acts like The Everly Brothers or The Louvin Brothers, full of buoyant acoustic guitars and mandolins. At centre stage are pure voices and dulcet melodies that remind you of the comfort of family and friends. Their sound has evolved since the first album, but only in that it’s delivered with more confidence.

“On the first album we were like a young Anakin Skywalker,” jokes Aaron. “Now we have that Vader swagger.”

They shed their Padawan braids by testing the songs in some unique locations, rather than just sneaking them into the odd set at a bar gig — playing them in care homes, at libraries for kids, and anywhere people wanted to be moved by music. It helped them craft the songs by seeing what people responded to (and it didn’t hurt their lovable rep either).

“We started to play often in a care home, and heard people who have a hard time speaking sing along,” says Shawn. “Others have told us how our songs have helped them get through hard times, so we’ve realized how we can affect people with our music, and how much of a gift it is to play for them.”

For the first time, The Karpinka Brothers will be spreading the word outside Saskatoon, with a full band on a western Canadian tour. You can see them prior to their departure at the album release show at Amigos on October 12th, with Sarah Farthing opening.

“Aaron will be playing electric guitar for the first time with us,” says Shawn, “and it will be the first chance to buy our album on vinyl, which took a lot of time and effort to make.”

“[It’s the] K-Brosreturn,” says Aaron. “It’s going to be the Return of the Ukrainian Jedis!” - Planet S

"Bands To Look For 2012"

Karpinka Bros.

Saskatoon’s answer to a hug that never stops, The Karpinka Bros. have already captured the love of an entire city by being the musical equivalent of warm longjohns and a stiff glass of rye. Rumour has it they are putting out an album on vinyl in 2012. I can’t wait for the interviews I am going to do with them… - Ominocity



It’s only been a few short years that The Karpinka Brothers have been a buzz-band on the local scene, but man have they made the most of their time — both in this city and, increasingly, across Canada! And the best part about it? Their attitude, demeanour and way they treat people (from fans to ink-stained music critics to, I’d assume, everyone they meet) has remained just as sunny and awesome as the sweet indie-pop they make. These guys deserve big things, and it’s great to hear that our voters are returning the love that they so consistently put out! - PLANET S


Still working on that hot first release.



The Karpinka Brothers nostalgic and pastiche songwriting lands the Saskatchewan based folk group in a genre all of their own. Joel Plaskett once described their sound as “Buddy Holly boogie meets Crowded House.” Their fourth album, Talk Is Cheap, is set for release in the fall of 2017.

Talk Is Cheap feels like a call to arms. It finds a seemingly impossible balance of sincerity and positivity. When they sing lines like “Where would I be without music in my heart?” You not only believe them, you relate without a trace of irony. The brothers have a longstanding reputation of putting their money where their mouth is, finding a delicate balance between professional musicians and community volunteers. In addition to sharing the stage with influential artists like John K. Samson and Gordon Lightfoot, they’ve played dozens of concerts for residents of a local long-term care residence. 

Produced and recorded by Grammy nominee Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, Vic Chestnut) at his legendary Hotel2Tango in Montréal, Talk Is Cheap is the most realized and expansive Karpinka Brothers album to date. Their eloquent blend of timeless folk and 60s pop songs are complimented by an impressive list of contributing musicians including Mathieu Charbonneau (Timber Timbre) on piano and keys, Jamie Thompson (Unicorns/Islands) on drums and percussion, Sophie Trudeau (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on violin, Joel Kerr (Sara Slean) on bass, and backing vocals by Krista Muir.

The Karpinka Brothers will be touring North American in support of Talk Is Cheap. Dates have started to roll out including performances at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, Mo.













Band Members